Optometrists will tell you that vitamins A, C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, may reduce the risk of cataracts in people who maintain a healthy diet. Here’s a sampling of recent science that backs them up:
- In 2014, Swedish researchers found an association between all antioxidants in the diet and age-related cataracts. More than 30,000 women age 49 or older completed a dietary questionnaire and were observed for age-related cataract development for an average of 7.7 years. Results showed that the women who consumed more antioxidants were significantly less likely to develop cataracts. Fruits and vegetables were largely credited with supplying the higher levels of antioxidants, as well as whole grains and coffee(!).
- Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science published a study from Australia that found that high carb diets increased cataract risk. Researchers studied 1,600 adults and discovered that individuals in the top 25 percent for carb consumption were three times more likely to be at risk for cataracts than those in the bottom 25 percent.
- Again out of Australia, but this time appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , a 10-year study found that increasing intake of vitamin C, combined with multiple antioxidants, reduces the risk of cataracts in older adults.
- This time from Japan, and published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology , a study linked cataracts to oxidative stress, which occurs when the levels of antioxidants in the lenses of the eye decrease.
- Researchers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Public School of Health and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System published findings in the Archives of Ophthalmology that showed a link between higher dietary intakes of lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E to be associated with significantly reduced cataract risk. (Note: In this study, these substances were derived from food and supplements. Other studies have not shown a link between nutritional supplements and risk for cataracts. Also, while all nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals associate with cataract prevention can be found in eye vitamins and vision supplements, many experts believe these substances should be acquired from a healthy diet rather than supplements.)
Taking care of your eyes will increase your health overall, and beginning to think now about maintaining your eyesight in advanced age will have positive ramifications down the line.